MBB: Colonels drop another close contest to Eastern in overtime

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MBB: Colonels drop another close contest to Eastern in overtime

Derek Heiserman goes for a block on Eastern guard Draig Ruff. Heiserman finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds.

Derek Heiserman goes for a block on Eastern guard Draig Ruff. Heiserman finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds.

Kirsten Peters

Derek Heiserman goes for a block on Eastern guard Draig Ruff. Heiserman finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds.

Kirsten Peters

Kirsten Peters

Derek Heiserman goes for a block on Eastern guard Draig Ruff. Heiserman finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds.

Kirsten Peters, Co-Sports Editor

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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — The Colonels squared up with Eastern University on Saturday, looking to take another step towards a better conference record. Unfortunately, they couldn’t pull off the upset and they fell 73-70 in dramatic fashion. The game was so dramatic it needed more than 40 minutes to decide a winner after both teams ended the fourth quarter tied at 64-64. 

Wilkes had a strong showing on the defensive side of the floor but they didn’t get the offense rolling until the second half. 

Neither team had much success putting the ball in the hoop. The Colonels shot just over 31 percent in the first half. Eastern had a little bit more success, shooting around 41 percent.

Despite having more success shooting the ball, the Eagles only carried a 28-26 lead into the second half.

Wilkes started heating up in the second half. Rob Pecorelli, finally started to get things rolling after going 0-for-4 from beyond-the-arc in the first half. 

Pecorelli sparked his team by knocking down two three-pointers. 

“I think my teammates do a great job getting me in rhythm and shots within the offense” Pecorelli said. 

One of the teammates that helped Pecorelli find his rhythm was fellow senior, Mark Mullins. He found ways to set up his teammates, tallying four assists, good enough for a team-high and two higher than his season average. 

“I just try and do whatever I need to do to help the team win. Everyone has their role and no matter what the role is, it’s important to the success of the team,” Mullins said. “So I’m just one piece of the puzzle in terms of what it takes for us to play our best and I try and fulfill my role the best I can.”

The Pecorelli and Mullins duo were not the only X-factors for the Colonels in the second half. Sophomore, Drake Marshall stepped up for an injured Sean Coller and was able to find success driving through the flock of Eagles in the paint and score six of his ten points on the day. 

“I just feel like the more minutes I play the more confident I get,” Marshall said. “The game is just getting easier.” 

Marshall did not take a lot of shots in the first half, but as he noted his confidence builds throughout the game. 

Despite Pecorelli and Marshall picking things up in the second half, Eastern battled their way back to tie the game at 64-64.

Rolling into overtime, both teams had one thing on their minds: winning.

Eastern took over to start the overtime period. Michael Bowlers found success in the paint for the Eagles, drawing fouls and making easy layups to build a five point lead.

Pecorelli willed his team back, drawing fouls and hitting his free throws to keep the Colonels in the game.

Both teams continued to exchange points, and with 43 seconds left the Colonels found themselves trailing 72-70.

Mullins attempted to tie the game up by driving to the basket, but drew a questionable offensive foul, his fifth of the game, ending his day. The Wilkes crowd showed their displeasure with the call by booing the officials.

The Eagles drew another foul once they got the ball back and they hit one of their two free throws, going up 73-70.

Pecorelli took the ball up the floor with under 15 seconds left to play and started to drive it down the paint. Once again, another offensive foul was called against Wilkes.

This caused Pecorelli to bow out of the game with five fouls as well, joining Mullins, Marshall and Donovan Breeding as Colonels who fouled out. 

Wilkes fouled the Eagles again with hopes of them missing free throws and getting the ball back. Just that happened and the Colonels had one last chance to tie the game with six seconds left. Without Pecorelli and Mullins

The Colonels have not had the success that they were hoping for this season, going through growing pains and letting the younger players work through their mistakes.

“A lot of these guys haven’t played in big high school games so they are learning on the fly,” Wilkes coach Izzi Metz said. “We have had a lot of close games, that we haven’t really closed in on. We haven’t been able to keep and hold onto a lead. We haven’t been able to string together wins.”

Wilkes will likely need to run the table if they want to return to the MAC Freedom playoffs. They will head to Stevens on Wednesday for the first time as conference foes as they look to salvage what is left of the season.